Internet addiction: causes, symptoms & treatment

Internet addiction is a new addiction that is becoming increasingly common. Internet addiction can take different forms: gaming addiction, social media addiction or chatting addiction. The causes, symptoms and treatment of internet addiction are discussed in this article.

What is internet addiction?

Internet addiction is not an official addiction, but there are calls for this diagnosis to be included in the DSM criteria. It starts as an innocent hobby, but gradually internet use becomes central to the addict’s life. There are similarities with other addictions. For example, internet addiction involves loss of control: you lose control over your life and live in your own virtual world. Withdrawal symptoms occur if you cannot sit in front of the computer. It is an obsession that consumes your life, consumes your free time and destroys your social life.

Forms of internet addiction

The most common forms of internet addiction are:

    • Chat addiction : addicted to chatting (online “talking”) on websites or instant messaging sites, such as MSN.
    • Porn addiction often goes hand in hand with sex addiction.
    • Addicted to social media , such as Hyves, Twitter and Facebook. This is reflected in constantly checking updates.
    • Gaming addiction . A gaming addiction is not always an internet addiction. The addictive effect can occur because the person in question competes with people all over the world.

Causes of Internet Addiction

In most cases, internet addiction starts as a hobby. The internet user has the feeling that he can perform in the virtual world. People who already have problems are most at risk of developing an internet addiction. They have a mental illness, have been fired, are being bullied or feel depressed.

Internet addiction: symptoms

The symptoms of internet addiction are similar to the symptoms of other addictions. A general characteristic is that people suffering from internet addiction spend less and less time on other activities, even if these activities are basic necessities, such as sleeping and eating. A number of symptoms can specifically indicate an internet addiction:

    • Frequent and long-term internet use: at least 16 hours per week
    • Denying internet use to others, “secretive” behavior
    • Social contacts dilute: the addict becomes lonely
    • Only enjoy online activities
    • Declining interests
    • Physical complaints, such as burning eyes
    • Self-neglect: lack of sleep, food

Internet addiction treatment

There are several rehab clinics for internet addicts. Although the problem is relatively young, its seriousness is recognized. The treatment consists of detoxification, but attention is also paid to underlying problems that cause and maintain the addiction.

Internet addiction can be overcome for a small group with self-help and/or help from the immediate environment. This is easier in the early stages than when the addiction is advanced.

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